Cowboys will showcase several members of its 2015 recruiting class

Not only did second-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl say how many true freshmen will play this season, he listed each player by name.

Those were one of several things Bohl talked about during his Monday news conference in Laramie as UW is in full game week mode for its season-opener Saturday against North Dakota.

Here is the video from the news conference:

Bohl said 13 true freshmen will play, but it is 14 as he didn’t include true freshman walk-on kicker Tristan Bailey, who will handle the extra point and field goal duties this week. Bohl said Bailey earned the job this week through competition, but also said that competition remains open.

Ethan Wood

Ethan Wood

Junior starting punter Ethan Wood was part of that place-kicking competition the last couple of days of fall camp, but hasn’t attempted any in games his first two years at UW. Wood also is competing to handle the kickoff duties, and he described all of that kicking and competition as “exhilarating.”

Added Wood on Bailey: “He handled pressure better than I thought he would. His percentages were better with pressure, that’s great to see going into his first game. (Last Saturday during a scrimmage) he has pressure on every kick, and he made all of his kicks.”

Wood said he’s attempted more of the kickoffs than the other players competing for that job. Wood said will come down to this week to see who does it, but thinks he is the leading candidate.

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UW, Shyatt agree on contract extension

April 22.

That’s when Wyoming announced it was in negotiations for a contract extension for men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt.

July 15 was when the school announced the deal was done.

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

Shyatt’s contract was extended through April of 2020. He will receive a small bump in his base salary through the end of the contract. Although his base salary will be between $210,000 and $230,000 through life of this contract, UW athletics director Tom Burman said Shyatt made “north of $800,000” this year. Most coaches contracts at UW are low on base salary, but heavy on other bonuses and incentives.

In other words, Shyatt won’t be the highest paid men’s basketball coach in the Mountain West, but he will be in the upper half . Basically, Shyatt’s new contract is not much different than his old one.

But why did this take so long? UW has been very generous and speedy in handing out extensions to coaches in the past. Since Burman became the AD in October of 2006 that has been the case, and it also was the case from ADs before him.

This was different because of a couple of factors. One being the retention bonuses for assistants Jeremy Shyatt (Larry’s son) and Allen Edwards.

This is a new thing for UW. Burman said there was a retention deal in place not long after became the AD in 2006, but that was funded by the Wyoming Legislature, but that soon went away.

Jeremy Shyatt and Edwards will, in the simplest terms I can express, receive $50,000 bonuses apiece for the next two years if they remain on the staff, or at least are on staff after a certain day in the year. Both make at or just over $100,000 a year.

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Shyatt contract extension still in the works

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

On April 22, Wyoming announced it was in negotiations with men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt on a contract extension.

More than a month later — 40 days to be exact — and there has been no announcement on a contract extension, but negotiations are still on going.

“We are still a ways away, both Larry and I have been traveling a bunch. Hopefully we will get something final before the middle of July,” UW athletics director Tom Burman said via text message Monday.

“We will get it done. We just need to work the details with (Shyatt’s) representatives as well as (UW’s legal staff).”

Tom Burman

Tom Burman

Burman would not comment on specifics about the negotiations, but if this were simply an extension for Shyatt it likely wouldn’t have taken this long. Security and/or incentives for his assistant coaches could be one of the areas that is being negotiated.

Shyatt has a 103-80 record at UW. The Cowboys went 25-10 last season, won its first-ever Mountain West Tournament title and played in its first NCAA Tournament since 2002.

Burman talks strategic plan for athletics

Wyoming posted its strategic plan for athletics on its website earlier this week. For a complete look at the 42-page plan, here is the link:

http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/wyo/genrel/auto_pdf/2013-14/misc_non_event/strategic-plan-goals-14.pdf

Tom Burman

Tom Burman

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi talked to athletics director Tom Burman, and here are some comments from him about the plan:

There is a goal to generate 10 percent more revenue annually from ticket sales and game days. Does that include an increase in price for tickets for sports such as football and men’s and women’s basketball?

Burman: “Our market won’t support a significant increase in ticket prices. We know that. We’ve got to be thoughtful and logical in how we go forward with that. We have to grow our season tickets, grow single-game ticket sales, grow our annual giving and figure out how we leverage all of that growth stream and success of our programs to get additional revenue moving forward, whether it is from the state or where ever.”

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UW football coaching search: Day 3

Bruce Feldman, senior college football columnist from CBSSports.com, said via his Twitter account (@BFeldmanCBS) Wednesday night that Colorado School of Mines football coach Bob Stitt didn’t make Wyoming’s top three because athletics director Tom Burman told people he is concerned about winning the press conference with his new hire.

Not sure if that means Burman doesn’t think Stitt would be good with the press or be a public-relations hit with the fans, or the fact Stitt coaches at a NCAA Division II school.

However, when Burman talked to the media Monday, he was asked if it would be good to find someone that had a more dynamic personality with the fans than former coach Dave Christensen.

“You would always like to have people that are as good with (public relations) as possible, but there are highly successful coaches around the country that coach in front of packed stadiums that are not the most socially successful people,” Burman said. “That should be part of the equation, but the most important part is to find a coach that can put a product on the the field that people want to see.”

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Burman talks about UW football coaching search

Wyoming athletics director Tom Burman talked to the media for about 20 minutes Monday about the firing of football coach Dave Christensen Sunday, and the process of finding a new coach.

Here are some notes and quotes from his news conference:

–Burman said he didn’t know until Sunday that he would fire Christensen, but also looked at the last four or five games and how the team competed. UW lost five of its last six games and lost four of them by between 28 and 38 points.

–Burman said as of now he won’t hire a search firm, and “likely won’t even bring candidates on campus” for interviews. He said there won’t be an official search committee, but will draw help and feedback from staff members in the athletics department. Burman also said he has reached out to former UW coaches and administrators who “we trust,” such as former football coach Joe Tiller.

–Burman said it would be ideal for the next coach to have college head coaching experience, but it won’t be a “deal-killer” if that’s not the case.

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Reaction, thoughts to Christensen suspension and fine

By now you know that Wyoming athletics director Tom Burman suspended football coach Dave Christensen Monday for one week and fined him $50,000 for his postgame, profanity-laced tirade with Air Force coach Troy Calhoun after the Cowboys’ 28-27 home loss on Oct. 13.

Christensen won’t be allowed any access to the team or facilities this week, and Burman said he will be reinstated Sunday morning. Christensen will be paid while he’s suspended, but Burman said a week’s pay for Christensen is “significantly less” than the fine he levied.

The discipline was not only a result of Christensen’s reaction to Calhoun after the game, but also from the YouTube video that surfaced last last week that captured the outburst. Burman said he first saw the video last Monday — two days after the game.

Why didn’t Burman suspend Christensen sooner is what many fans are asking? Burman said he didn’t want to make a “hasty” decision and wanted to consult with school president Tom Buchanan and UW’s legal advisers to see if what he had in mind would fly. Burman said Christensen’s actions were a suspendable offense as soon as he saw the video.

Burman also said he didn’t have his mind made up about the suspension and fine before last Saturday’s 42-14 loss at Fresno State, but knew something more needed to be done other than apologies from Christensen the Sunday and Monday after the Air Force game.

“In my mind it doesn’t matter which game you suspend him for if you choose to make that decision,” Burman said.

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Statement from UW on suspension, fine for Christensen

Here is the statement from the University of Wyoming Monday on the one-week suspension and fine for football coach Dave Christensen:

University of Wyoming athletics director Tom Burman announced (Monday) that  football coach Dave Christensen has been suspended one week, effective immediately, and fined $50,000 for his actions following the Oct. 13 game vs. Air Force.

Assistant Head Coach Pete Kaligis has been named the interim head coach for this week.  Kaligis will coach the Cowboys in this Saturday’s home game against Boise State.

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Burman talks about MW meetings

Wyoming athletics director Tom Burman left San Diego Monday afternoon from meetings the last couple of days with the Mountain West’s other ADs and school presidents.

Unfortunately, no news came out of the meetings regarding the league’s ongoing challenge to improve its television package, or with its future partnership/merger (or whatever you want to call it) with Conference USA.

But a lot was discussed, and the primary topic was generating more revenue and that centers around a better TV contract. But that’s still where all this stands — in the talking phase. There is no new deal as of now, nor a revamped one that gives the league and its members more exposure … and more importantly, more money.

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MW athletics budgets

Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune wrote a good and interesting article today about the athletics budgets for Mountain West schools, including San Jose State and Utah State that join in 2013-14.

Here’s the link: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/54089679-77/state-budget-conference-million.html.csp

As you can see, Wyoming isn’t at the bottom anymore like it was in the past. Still, UW must find ways to increase that budget in the coming years. This isn’t something AD Tom Burman and his staff don’t already know.

Any thoughts or opinions on this? I found it interesting the two top schools — UNLV and New Mexico — are horrible in football at this point and time. Wonder what that all means down the road. You know a lot of those schools’ resources are going to basketball. … among other things. Will this change?

Let me know what you think.